The Old Man and the Seat
|"The Old Man and the Seat"|
|Rick and Morty episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4|
|Directed by||Jacob Hair|
|Written by||Michael Waldron|
|Original air date||November 17, 2019|
|Running time||22 minutes|
"The Old Man and the Seat" is the second episode of the fourth season of the Adult Swim animated television series Rick and Morty. Written by Michael Waldron and directed by Jacob Hair, loosely adapting The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, the episode aired in the United States on November 17, 2019.
An alien intern named Glootie serves breakfast to the Smiths, often asking for assistance in developing a mobile app, even though Rick has tattooed "Do Not Develop My App" on Glootie's forehead. As Rick excuses himself and leaves for a solo adventure, which Summer surmises as defecating, Jerry is curious and offers to develop Glootie's app. Glootie and Jerry's app goes online, infuriating Morty. The app, named "Lovefinderrz", turns out to be a dating app that entices its users to divert their full attention into finding their true love. Summer ditches Beth on their lunch for her date, leading to a fight between the two.
Seeing the widespread chaos, Jerry realizes his wrongdoing and joins Morty in demanding Glootie to take the app down. Glootie leads them to his mothership, where they meet the aliens' leader, who rebukes humanity's inefficiency in mastering love and states that the app is a distraction to steal Earth's water resources. Beth chases after Summer, who constantly changes her soul mate with the app, while Jerry and Morty are captured. Jerry manages to convince Glootie to take the app offline, showing their similarity in being unable to find a match. As Morty chastises Jerry about his decisions, Glootie puts an ad-wall on the app, leading Summer and everyone else to delete the app and resume their lives.
Rick travels to a scenic, private lavatory. Discovering that it has been intruded upon, he tracks down the poop bandit, who is named Tony. Despite admonishment from Rick, Tony continues to use the lavatory, leaving Rick to punish him by using a chemical called "Globaflyn" to put him in his ideal toilet-filled simulation of heaven before evicting him. As Rick gives him a final warning, Tony chides him about his control issues and advises friendship. Rick prepares a defense measure on the toilet designed to humiliate its future user. Upon visiting Tony's office, he finds out from his assistant that Tony has quit his job and died in a ski accident, having intended to live life to the fullest. Feeling guilty, Rick attends Tony's funeral, giving gifts to Tony's father. However, he leaves angrily when the father refers to Tony as Rick's friend. Rick then goes back to the lavatory and sits on the toilet, which spawns a crowd of holographic Ricks who berate "Tony" and his loneliness.
In the post-credits scene, Jerry consumes some Globaflyn and sees his own ideal reality: himself as a competent water-bottle delivery man and being appreciated for it.
Production and writing
"The Old Man and the Seat" was written by Michael Waldron and directed by Jacob Hair. The episode features guest actors Sam Neill as the Monogatron leader, Kathleen Turner as his wife, Jeffrey Wright as Tony; and director Taika Waititi as Glootie. Sherri Shepherd, who voiced the Judge in the previous episode, returned to the series as the voice of Tony's wife. A preview of the episode was released on July 19, 2019.
In a review by Entertainment Weekly, Omar Sanchez assumes the episode to be titled after the 2018 film The Old Man and the Gun, in which the lead character (portrayed by Robert Redford) goes on a heist spree and reflects on his younger self and the final statement he's making, observing the lead character's similarity with Rick, whom they noticed has lost his agency within the Smith household. Vulture's Liz Shannon Miller noted that the episode mainly explores the themes of loneliness and isolation. Heavy attributes the title to be a reference to Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, in which an old man, waning in his abilities, struggles to catch a giant marlin.
The episode also introduces the chemical "Globafin", which taps into a person's brain and creates a Matrix-like simulation of that person's ideal heaven. In an analysis by IGN's Jesse Schedeen, he wrote that Jerry's desired heaven adequately presents him as a character who constantly battles his own feelings of inadequacy and laments his chronic unemployment.
Broadcast and ratings
The episode was broadcast by Adult Swim on November 17, 2019. According to Nielsen Media Research, "The Old Man and the Seat" was seen by 1.66 million household viewers in the United States and received a 0.97 rating among the 18–49 adult demographic, making it the lowest rated episode of the series (excluding the unannounced season 3 premiere) since season 1’s "Something Ricked This Way Comes".
The A.V. Club's Zack Handlen gave the episode a "B+" rating, writing that "while the end result is pretty funny and thematically coherent", he also felt it as just "slightly under-done". Entertainment Weekly gave the episode an "A" rating. Steve Greene of IndieWire gave it a "B-" rating, and described it as "the equivalent of a mild inconvenience", remarking that "reinforcing some old ideas, Rick's quest for ultimate privacy and a globe-enslaving dating app are a flimsy foundation for a repetitive episode." Vulture's Liz Shannon Miller gave it a three-out-of-five star rating, and wrote that "From the simplest of setups comes, once again, a Rick and Morty adventure that simultaneously goes completely haywire even while it exposes the innermost pathos of its characters." Reviewing for Den of Geek, Joe Matar praised the extraordinary parings of Beth and Summer, Jerry and Morty, and Rick alone with himself as going "mostly extremely well." Ray Flook of Bleeding Cool described its concept as combining of the emotional gut-punch of the ending to the second season episode "Auto Erotic Assimilation" with the chainsaw-slicing social satire found in "Rick Potion No. 9" and any of the "Interdimensional Cable" segments.
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- Plante, Corey (November 17, 2019). "Here's who every Rick and Morty guest star could play". Inverse. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
- Shaw-Williams, Hannah (November 18, 2019). "Every Voice Guest Star In Rick & Morty Season 4 Episode 2". Screen Rant. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
- Aquilina, Tyler (July 19, 2019). "Hear Taika Waititi as an app-loving alien in first Rick and Morty season 4 clip". Entertainment Weekly. Meredith. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
- "Rick and Morty recap: Taika Waititi and the poop bandit". Entertainment Weekly. Meredith. November 18, 2019. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
- Shannon Miller, Liz (November 18, 2019). "Rick and Morty Recap: The True Power of Superior Intimacy". Vulture. Vox Media. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
- Dwilson, Stephanie Dube (November 18, 2019). "'Rick and Morty': The Old Man & the Seat Refers to a Classic Book". Heavy. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
- Schedeen, Jesse (November 18, 2019). "Rick and Morty: Season 4, Episode 2 Post-Credits Scene Explained". IGN. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
- "Watch Rick and Morty Season 4, Episode 2 The Old Man and the Seat". TV Guide. November 17, 2019. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
- Metcalf, Mitch (November 19, 2019). "Top 150 Sunday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.17.2019". Showbuzz Daily. Archived from the original on November 20, 2019. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
- Handlen, Zack (November 9, 2019). "Rick And Morty is back and back to basics". The A.V. Club. Gizmodo Media. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
- Greene, Steve (November 18, 2019). "'Rick and Morty' Review: 'The Old Man and the Seat' Is a Concoction of Love and Bathrooms". IndieWire. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
- Matar, Joe (November 18, 2019). "Rick and Morty Season 4 Episode 2 Review: The Old Man and the Seat". Den of Geek. Retrieved November 19, 2019.